Pension firms face 14,000 requests in a week

| 06/05/2020 | 88 Comments
Deputy Director of Pensions Amy Wolliston

(CNS): Pension administrators managing the nine different pension funds for private sector workers have faced a barrage of emails and messages in the wake of the new law passed by government to allow people access to their money during the COVID-19 health emergency. Deputy Director of Pensions Amy Wolliston said they were all in a process of “adjustment” and urged people to be patient.

Wolliston appeared on the COVID-19 daily briefing on Wednesday where she addressed some of the issues and myriad questions that are being asked by the public about the law, as well as how people get their money and the various barriers that the public appear to be coming across as they seek to get at the much needed cash.

CNS had requested that the pension expert appear at the briefing in an effort get answers to some of the hundreds of questions submitted to us that people wanted to be asked at the briefings.

A catalogue of issues surrounding the withdrawal, including people who are finding that there is not a penny in their pension fund after the fall in the markets and workers who are finding that their employers have failed to pay what they owe to the funds.

The government is hoping its decision to give all employers and their workers a six month break from the mandatory 10% contribution and to allow people to withdraw a significant sum from their pension will help with the current economic crises resulting from the health emergency. It is estimated that it will inject around $500 million into the local economy.

All private sector workers with a pension plan will be allowed to take a lump sum of up to $10,000 then another 25% of whatever remains in their fund. This is a way of helping people get through the current difficulties and kick-start the economic recovery as we begin to emerge from lockdown.

Although broadly welcomed by the public, with some people desperate to access the money, the change to the law has triggered an avalanche of concerns.

These include complaints about the bureaucracy facing applicants, the time line to get the money, the shortfall from employers in some schemes, the discovery of how badly the funds have performed and various efforts allegedly being deployed by administrators to try and stop members getting the money.

Fears that those applying for permanent residency will be penalized down the line and the possibility that pension administrators will massively increase fees when the withdrawal period is over have clouded what is largely seen as a reasonable solution to the Cayman government’s inability to subsidize the wages of all private sector employees while the businesses they work for remain closed.

Wolliston answered a number of specific questions but asked people to check the frequently asked questions on the Department of Labour and Pensions website or contact them by email. She urged all of those with questions to contact their pension funds directly and remain patient as things are taking time.

Meanwhile, given the demand on the number of people making applications to withdraw funds, Wolliston is also taking part in a free webinar hosted by the Chamber of Commerce this Friday, 8 May, focused on the subject.

Businesses or individuals wishing to attend are required to pre-register here, where they will be provided with technical instructions to attend the webinar.

See Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing on CIGTV below, set to start with Amy Wolliston’s presentation:

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Category: Economy, Local News, Politics

Comments (88)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So seniors entitled to their pension, taking it and not working only receive and have to live on just over 1,000 a month, while others still employed with a salary can withdraw pension also. Hope seniors will be first in line for employment if they want to work and work permits not issued when unnecessary!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The amount of incoherent rambling and people who think they are entitled or think this is a scheme. Pension departments have set staff and a set workload. There workload has gone up by 10000% because of every person in Cayman trying to withdrawl. Not because of need but because of looking at it like a Payday.

    Going from 100 emails to 1000 over night. These people working in pension are friends, family or aquaintences. Follow the correct channels and have patience. Most pension processing takes up to 45 days. Time it takes to receive the information, input it into the system, send it to be authorized, etc. They aren’t just sitting on a vault of money.

    Also expect a lower return then what is on your statement. You are taking out money when the market is low.

    • Anonymous says:

      Better low than extinct.

      • CMAC says:

        I put CI$65k in my Plan over the years and it’s worth CI$7k less after 7 excellent years in the markets – The plans are very poorly managed, without exception.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There’s a fairly obvious reason for this. Most people realised they would never see this money (even if it wasn’t lost by the morons operating the schemes) due to the way the law works. Rather 10k +25% now (to invest properly) than 0 later.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The form right now that is available in DLP website was different from the May 1st that was posted in DLP. Will there be an issue with the once who have used that? It was posted in DLP website so it should be good right?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ms. Wooliston was very articulate and knowledgable in her presentation and responses on the press briefing yesterday. Thank you

    • Anon says:

      8.22 She might be articulate but she is part of the problem. Try sending her an email or call for her and see what happens. Years ago a Judge tried to get her to testify in Court about a Pension case and it took even him about a year to do so.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon strikes again. Everyone is a disaster except Anon.

        Poor dude.

        Amy is part of our world class civil service. Thank you Amy you did an amazing job.

        • Anonymous says:

          At least she showed up. Where was the person who is charge of that office. He should have been there. Had it been Mario he surely would have showed up to assist and give moral support.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In the press meeting yesterday she said she wasn’t aware of any complaints of employers taking pension money out salaries and still not paying the pension company… All i can say is that XXXX someone at DLP is not passing information on to her. I’ve been complaining to them for the past 3 weeks nonstop! XXXX If i stole a $1 item from fosters i would be punished for it; employers are stealing thousands of dollars from employees and nothing is being done because they have “friends in high places”.

  7. Anonymous says:

    14000 requests is an indication of inefficiency and downright failure.
    When forms with instructions are available online, when FAQ are posted online, it effectively eliminates 90% of calls, emails and visits..

  8. Anonymous says:

    One time Withdrawal Fidelity form(as an example)
    Minimum leg workout, clear cut instructions, print the form online, notarize for free in your bank, mail it. Sign into your account and see its value.

    In Cayman:
    Get your legs some work. Go the office to get the form, stay in line, ask your questions, get the form. Fill-in the form, find a notary, pay to a notary, find a photo salon, wait in line, get your photo taken, pay, wait or come back to retrieve it, take the form and photos to pension office, stay in line, submit the form personally, pray for 6 weeks that value of your account won’t drop significantly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Doesnt matter, maybe CNS can confirm but if you submit the form today for example, the May 1st NAV would apply to your withdrawal, not the one in 6 weeks time

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        You will likely get May 30 NAV if you submit today. It’s too late for April and it takes 15 days generally to finalise the month end NAV. So you should be paid based on the May 30 value between June 15 and 30th.

      • Anonymous says:

        When you buy a house you often lured into locking your interest rate because on the closing day it could differ from what it is today. It could go up or down. But if you “lock” (pay) it, it will remain the same regardless of market fluctuations.
        The same goes for pension funds. If your account value today is $10,000, but in 45 days it drops to $7,500, you will receive $7,500.
        When I was leaving Bermuda and cashing out my pension account in October 2008, I lost 70% of its value between application day and payout day.

        • Anonymous says:

          Same happened to me when I left Bermuda (September 2008)

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s not entirely correct. A pension is a fund like any other. It calculates its net asset value at a set frequency. Some funds are calculated daily and some monthly, some quarterly, etc. The funds here calculate on a monthly basis. You are paid based on the month end. It doesn’t matter when you actually get your cheque – it may take them some time to finalise the month end figure and actually pay you. The value of the market, and consequently your pension will change between the end of the month and when you actually get your money. It may go up or down. But the amount you receive will be the value of the pension at the previous month end.

          Don’t believe me, email your pension plan and they will tell you the same thing.

          • Lomart says:

            You are absolutely correct. Please do not encourage more emails to the pension providers; they are swamped.

      • Anonymous says:

        The NAV will be as at May 31 since everyone is applying in May. It will be the next available NAV.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you put your application in the last week of May it’s unlikely that you will get the May 31st NAV as they need to process the application. There’s a reason they have 45 days to pay out.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I won’t see anything till middle on June. That’s insane how long it will take

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not insane. It’s a pension plan not a mutual fund. It wasn’t meant for you to make withdrawals. It’s set up for monthly valuations – there is no way for it go faster given the sheer number of people making withdrawals. I will actually be impressed if they are able to process everyone within 45 days.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I sent a request to my pension administrator last week Monday (27th April) and I still haven’t heard from them.

  11. anonymous says:

    On May 1, DLP uploaded a form in their website and has uploaded a different form yesterday. We have submitted the first form already to our admin, will there be an issue since the new form is different?

  12. Anon says:

    The Media & Govt keeps mentioning 9 plans. Why isn’t Butterfield’s plan included? Also why can’t Pensioners at least access the 10,000.00 if the’ve been retired less than 5 years. They now face a future with no funds even if they had 250,000 to 500,000 in their find when they retired. At least make them enjoy this last 10,000 hurrah.

    • Anonymous says:

      Butterfield does not have a plan. Since inception I heard complaints about their pension. It was the Chamber plan that Butterfield used to administer & invest. Then Consultants (Mercer) got involved (more fees!) & split the Chamber pension investment management to other entities (more fees!).

      • Anon says:

        2.39 You’re incorrect Butterfield has the Wyvern fund and their staff has no option but to use it even though it’s not managed very well. They only used to be the administrators of the Chamber fund.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are also incorrect. They most definitely were the investment managers originally of the Chamber fund. They invested exactly the same % in securities (equities/bond/cash) for it & Wyvern.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they had that amount in & are already retired a lot of the contributions would have been more than the mandatory 5% &/or above the salary cut off threshold. They should have been recorded as voluntary contributions. Those you are entitled to take out in full at retirement age.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I finally received my statement today and apparently my losses in March were a whopping 12%. I’m not sure why they don’t send these out monthly or at all. So March statement, according to the DLP is useless as I need the one for April to to figure out what my true position is….Actually since I applied in May, my payout should be based on the May statement..My guess is by the time they get around to getting an up to date to us it will be nothing more than a pittance..

    These pensions providers thought they had an easy ride collecting their fees whether we made any money or not but now we have caught them with their pants down and they are scrambling to do some of the things they should have been doing all along. Simple things like providing an up to date statement has completely frustrated them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your payout will be based on the payday value

      • Anonymous says:

        Not true. It will be paid based on the last NAV value of the month end before your pay day. So for people submitting now that will likely mean May 30

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it depends if your pension is defined contribution plan or defined benefit plan which is based on your last salary, Defined benefit is hardly used now.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh stop complaining! It only came into law last week. Give them a frikkin chance! Geeez….

    • Anonymous says:

      Government has written off $970,000 from its financial books for the failed Customs Total Revenue Integrated Processing (TRIPS) codes system.

      They were also asking for time to get it work…it never did.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Part of the admin fees where listed as Department of Labour and Pension fees.

    So let’s get this straight… Govt profiting off the rip off scheme. No wonder why Govt supported keeping 9 pension schemes. Govt excuse back in 2013 was let the market decide. Funny, that this island has socialised capitalism when it their money and pure capitalism when it’s our money.

    Sure easy and nice for them if they never change the scam they keep getting paid.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I saw the storm coming, left in January. Wish I could have access to those funds now! Ugh!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you were able to anticipate this situation in January such that it influenced you to leave and you were in fact able to leave that same month, you must be a very smart person. With that level of ability to see the future, what do you need a pension plan for? You should be able to make a fortune in the stock market.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Damn right. The book should be thrown at employers not making contributions required by law. They knew the law and broke it brazenly. Many while making very good profits.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha-ha-ha, never will happen because the violators are well known to DLP but they have no intention of enforcing the laws because of who these violators are and the people they know.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I hope they don’t use the 31 March number

    • Anonymous says:

      Pay day value will be used.

    • Anonymous says:

      The May 31st one is set to be 10 times worse.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hardly 10 times worse – unless you can predict what the value at May 31st will be. From mid month on you will get the next month end value. Before mid month you will get the last, so no one will get Mar 31st & if your crystal ball anticipates May 31st markets to really be 10x better please post your phone number. I need someone to predict my future. Crystal ball anyone!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    give us back our money! and pray we don’t sue you for incompetence and mismanagement

  20. Anonymous says:

    What the pension administrators need to do is stop making excuses and process the requests in a timely manner. Also, any employer that has not been making their contributions as required by law need to be taken before the courts and should be sent to prison.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not gonna happen when the Government is and always have been in collusion with the pension scheme. They get their cut. You might get something. It was never about you people getting a pension. You all fell for it. Easy to do when they pass a law that states you have to give them a percentage of your pay or else go to jail.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree is it too much to ask that they respond to the 5,000 emails a day that they are now receiving within 24 hours…seems reasonable.

      • Anonymous says:

        They should have done already on their website:

        1.Link to the appropriate form that includes a detailed instruction
        2.FAQ that updated daily for new questions.

        Would have eliminated emails, calls and visits.

        • Anonymous says:

          It really wouldn’t, you overestimate the intelligence levels of the general populace

    • Anonymous says:

      @8.55pm Amy Wolliston did an excellent presentation today, was concise, articulate, detailed and patient. This just came into effect, all will be processed, they are human too. Calm down! And no, not a civil servant and no work but not pension people’s fault. Stop complaining! Just complete and submit form!

    • Anonymous says:

      @8.55pm Do you always snap your fingers when you expect things to be done for you!

    • Anonymous says:

      Take who before the courts? Hell they have loads of cases pending and dribble back overdue payments being made. No one gives a dam about the workers pension and health insurance. Absolutely no enforcement and just a slight tap on the wrist to the unscrupulous employers. Thank you Cayman Islands Government.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree and I’m afraid some politicians who are company owners and not paying pensions gonna end up there or should end up there . Nobody should be EXEMPT from rule breaking regardkess if you a politician or not.

      • Anonymous says:

        Aha – you may have stumbled across the distinction between ineptitude and corruption.

      • Anonymous says:

        Uh-oh, you must be brave or stupid making a statement like that! An employer rode in a Mercedes instead of a KIA – why? – because the can afford it by not paying the money they took from the workers pay

    • Anonymous says:

      Simple as that man. Its too easy!

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course the employers who have stolen the money should go to prison, but the police refuse to investigate, and even if the DLP can be persuaded to act, years go by with no effective resolution. That in itself is a crime.

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